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  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Unhappy Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    I was issued a ticket for failure to yield (21803, a) after driving through a traffic circle. The officer entered the traffic circle from a street perpindicular to the street I was on to my left. He stated that I entered the circle after he had already entered it, i.e., failing to yield to the traffic already in the circle. My interpretation of the event (along with two co-workers I was driving with in my car who are willing to act as witnesses) was that we approached and entered the circle simultaneously, and due to the fact that I was on the officer's right hand side, I had the right of way. I know that I can't really use this information in my argument, but I also know that the officer was driving much faster than me so even when we entered the circle simultaneously, he was much further into the circle than I was a moment after we had both entered the circle. I am wondering whether or not I have a case here, I truly believe I am innocent and I have a completely clean driving record.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    21803. (a) The driver of any vehicle approaching any intersection
    which is controlled by a yield right-of-way sign shall, upon arriving
    at the sign, yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have
    entered the intersection, or which are approaching on the
    intersecting highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard,
    and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until
    he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.
    Did you create an immediate hazard? Did the cop have to slam on brakes? Why do you think his speed couldn't be used in your argument? If you both entered at the same time, I'd say he is more in violation of 22350 than you are of 21803. You should plead not guilty and have your friends testify on your behalf.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    Quote Quoting kyung
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    , and due to the fact that I was on the officer's right hand side, I had the right of way. !
    and therein lies your problem. In a traffic circle, the traffic IN the circle has right of way and any entering traffic MUST yield to them if needed.

    The rules of a 4 way stop intersection have no applicability to this type of intersection.

    So, it gets down to; what action did the officer have to take due to you entering the circle?

    If he had to slow to avoid hitting you, you are at fault. If he had to change lanes (if a multiple lane circle intersection), you are at fault.

  4. #4
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    Question Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    Quote Quoting jk
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    and therein lies your problem. In a traffic circle, the traffic IN the circle has right of way and any entering traffic MUST yield to them if needed.
    I realize that drivers must yield to traffic already in the circle, however I felt that we approached and entered the circle simultaneously, but due to the fact that the officer was speeding, he was further along into the circle than I was after we had both already entered the circle. I do imagine he had to put on the brakes, but the speed limit was 15mph and he appeared to be travelling about twice that speed, so he would have needed to brake in order to make a turn around that circle regardless of whether or not there was other traffic present.

    I question whether or not I could use the speed of the officer's vehicle in my argument because I would not assume that pointing the finger at the officer speeding will win me any points, especially when it's an officer's word against mine.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    So, you admit you realized he was going faster than you believe he should have been and faster than you were. At that point, it was your obligation to determine if you could enter the circle without interference to him, regardless what the speed limit was.

    Apparently you couldn't.



    however I felt that we approached and entered the circle simultaneously
    Not to be a jerk but what you "felt" is meaningless. Whether he entered the same time as you is a factual statement. Either he did or he didn't.


    So, we have a person to your left that you realize was driving faster than you were. Let's assume you both entered at the same time. Apparenlty this is a quite small roundabout (that is what we call them around here) so it would be obvious his car would have to brake to avoid hitting you.

    I'm not really seeing much of a defense here.

    Hang on for a few others though. There is an officer that lives and works in California (CDWJava) that is pretty astute and honest. Maybe he knows something about California laws that will help you out.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    Quote Quoting kyung
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    I question whether or not I could use the speed of the officer's vehicle in my argument because I would not assume that pointing the finger at the officer speeding will win me any points, especially when it's an officer's word against mine.

    If the cop's speed was a contributing factor, of course it is a valid argument. However, you are going to have to be more absolute than you are here. So will your witnesses. If the cop was speeding and his speed caused the hazard vice your yielding, then you are not guilty.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    please show me a case where the other cars speed was an accepted defense.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    Quote Quoting jk
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    please show me a case where the other cars speed was an accepted defense.
    Oh my God... another one. Why can't people simply have different opinions on reasonable defenses based on common sense. Every time a reasonable defense is discussed that doesn't fall in line with the opinions of a select group of narrow thinkers, they pull out the "show me your statistics" card. You sound like Jessee Jackson playing the race card. Well... if you are too dimwitted to see the obvious common sensical point being made... here is a hyper-technical point for you.

    365. An "intersection" is the area embraced within the prolongation
    of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary
    lines of the roadways, of two highways which join one another at
    approximately right angles or the area within which vehicles
    traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come
    in conflict.
    So, an intersection is a point where two highways intersect. However, a roundabout does not fit this definition. The portion of road between the highways is neither one highway nor the other. So, since 21803 has to do with yielding at intersections, it is not applicable.

    Now... of course this is a bit ridiculous. However, I know that some people can't stand it when there are more than one legitimate perspectives. So, I've given you some better ammunition to poke at instead of my previous, reasonable, yet different, opinion.

    Happy?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    By the way, OP, was the roundabout controlled by a yield sign??

  10. #10
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    Apr 2009
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    4

    Default Re: Failure to Yield in a Traffic Circle in California

    Yes, the circle is controlled by the yield signs and I am aware of them. I have lived in this area for a while now and I'm used to safely and legally navigating them. Of course what I'm stating is a subjective interpretation of the event, I didn't mean to sound like I was "feeling" emotionally that things may or may not have happened or that I felt wronged or something to that effect. Unfortunately I do not have a video or photographic evidence of the event so I can really only make my statements to the best of my own and my co-workers' knowledge. I guess it sounds like it could be considered my fault that I assumed the officer would slow to the speed posted at the circle. I am sure he did not have to slam on his brakes and there was no risk of a collision occurring. So if you were broadsided by someone running a red light, you would be at fault for not anticipating the vehicle running the light? I appreciate the feedback and I'm still going to at least try to plead my innocence, even at the risk of being considered stupid at this forum.

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